Inspired by Truth Thursdays. It took me a month to finish this post, because the negative memories were hard to convert into positive ones. But the paradigm shift helped me realize just how blessed I am.
So now, here is a list of things that surprisingly make me say, “Thank You, Lord.”
1. Scars and lost body parts. Physical scars? I have LOTS: a small scar in my upper arm which I got as a baby when a glass fronted cabinet suddenly broke apart while I was crawling beside it. A fingernail lost after my brother slammed a door on my finger when I was 5.Â Several chipped incisors due to biting down on a metal fork while half asleep when I was in college. And scarred knuckles, arm, elbow and knee with a toenail pulled off after a motorbike accident last year.
These taught me that no matter how safe you try to be, accidents do happen. However, I also learned that some risks are totally not necessary. I realized that I have a very low pain threshold, yet the mind mercifully forgets how painful it really was over time. And yes, nails grow back.
2. Failure and disappointment. Every time I did not get what I wanted (or I thought I wanted), I considered it a failure. Numerous quiz bee losses, not getting into INTARMED, flunking college algebra and calculus, missing notes every time I am asked to sing solos in church, job tasks flubbed, missed opportunities, impossible expectations, relationships I could not sustain, projects that fell through, etc. Yet all these seeming dead ends and “failure to launch” were all signs of a provident Hand guiding my way. I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I got exactly what I needed. You know best, indeed.
3. Traffic jams and long commutes. My craziest dreams usually happen on a bus ride between Bonifacio and Ayala Avenue, or somewhere along Aguinaldo Highway. Why? The horrible traffic gives me time for sound tripping, memorizing choir cantatas, people-watching… and long naps.
4. A very short attention span: I find it very difficult to sit still for more than ten minutes, or listen attentively without fidgeting. I also have a hard time with routine and maintenance tasks, which explains my very interesting resume. But I am grateful that this restlessness and hyperactivity has affirmed my call to be a pioneer, a trailblazer, a champion of the new. My seeming ADHD has made me open to crazy ideas, far flung adventures, out of the box initiatives and an eclectic mix of friends. Because I have the attention span of a fruit fly, my life is infinitely richer.
5. A broken heart. Proof that I have a heart in the first place… I had wondered about my lack of interest in the romance area for so long (late bloomer ako e). At last, I comprehended what all the love life fuss was about. I learned that loving someone means giving that person the ability to hurt you, and that someone can’t be your only/main source of happiness. Dropping my guard and letting my heart shatter into smithereens taught me the consequences of casting pearls before porcine creatures. Above all, experiencing heartbreak also meant going through the beautiful process of healing: God reassured me, “You are mine.“Â I experienced God’s justice and compassion first hand, and I became even closer to the lover of my soul.
6. Solitude. When I was younger, I was afraid of being left alone. I kept imagining that the monsters and serial killers that I read about would come and get me (tsk, too much Stephen King in elementary). Now, I’m a big girl andÂ can go home by myself at all hours, wary, but not terrified. Yet I still hate solitude and have battled with loneliness ever since I left my college dormitory. I miss being able to talk to real live human beings 24/7.
But being productive (especially for thesis) demands focus and solitude. I need time alone when making major decisions so that I can clearly hear my inner voice, instead of the ceaseless chatter of the outside voices that are often misleading. Fostering intimacy with God also requires me to intentionally withdraw from the world. In solitude, I learned that my happiness must not depend on externals, but rely on connection with the Father.
7. Being lost. Because when I got found, it. was. for. eternity.